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December 4, 2018 - We See, We Hear

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Scripture Readings

It’s hard not to feel as though Jesus is talking to us in verses 23 and 24 in today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel. Like the disciples, we have seen and we have heard. No, we haven’t actually walked with Jesus, or sat at his feet to hear his teachings, or witnessed his passion. But, thanks to this Gospel and others and the writings of Paul and others, we see him. We hear him.

He’s the one who reaches out to the people society detests—like tax collectors and prostitutes. He’s the one who can feel the touch of a woman reaching out to him whose suffering no one cares about. And he heals her. He’s the one who willingly suffers death on a cross to save us sinners who will undoubtedly sin again.

We hear him in the Sermon on the Mount. He could not be clearer about who among us are blessed—the peacemakers, the meek, the poor. In other words, just the sort of people that cultures like ours ignore. Our culture can’t seem to get enough of violence, winners, and the wealthy. Jesus, by contrast, has another kind of kingdom in mind.

We get a glimpse of that kingdom in the reading from Isaiah. It’s a place ruled by a leader who doesn’t pass judgment on mere appearances or hearsay but listens with wisdom and understanding. This ruler seeks justice for the poor and strikes down the ruthless and the wicked not with swords but with words. This is a leader who rules with the Lord in mind all the time. This is someone who understands the great responsibility of their power and position and who leads as a servant of the Lord. That kingdom is also a place in which the prey is safe in the company of the predator—wolf and lamb, calf and lion, cow and bear. It’s a place wherein the most vulnerable among us—a baby—is safe even in the company of the cobra. What makes this wonderful kingdom possible? The prophet tells us that it is the knowledge of the Lord.

Jesus is right in Luke’s Gospel—we have seen and we have heard. We know who Jesus is and the kind of kingdom over which he is Lord. It’s the kind of kingdom in which power is exercised on behalf of the weakest and love reigns supreme. As citizens of that kingdom first before all other kingdoms, we are called to do all that we can to make it a reality right here and right now.

Of course, these days we have no shortage of voices that would tell us that God’s peaceable kingdom is a silly dream. It’s just not realistic. Maybe. But then who would have thought that God would take the form of a babe asleep in a manger filled with straw? If we are to be limited by what is “realistic” then we surely have no need of faith.

As we await God’s unexpected arrival once again may we reject rhetorics of despair of our time and live into the hope for justice, peace, and love now.

- Sue Trollinger